Bonaventure cemetery

savannah, GA  

March 31, 2016

I know what you might be thinking. A cemetery? Really? A cemetery, D?

Ok. There's a couple of reasons I went. Actually more than a couple. Like 4.

Bonaventure Cemetery used to be home to a very famous statue of a little girl holding, actually, plates that held water when it rained and functioned as fountains for birds. However, the statue of said little girl was used on the cover of a very famous book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which was about a very infamous murder in Savannah, and the image suggested the girl was holding the scales of justice. The book image resurrected-- bad word choice, I know-- interest in the cemetery, and so many visitors showed up, and were disrespectful, that the statue of girl was moved to the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah's historical district. That is how I heard of the cemetery.

Yes, walking around a cemetery is kind of morbid. And no, I wouldn't go at night. But if you take the spirits and such out of the equations, it's a well-manicured historical sculpture garden that has existed for hundreds of years. I mean, look at the gallery of pictures! The place is BEAUTIFUL.

And yes, I just called a cemetery a sculpture garden.  Indeed, I did. And that's kind of what they were thought of to be in the 1700s and 1800s or so. Cemeteries, including this one, were entertainment destinations. Funerary art was a big thing. Very wealthy people would "transition", and their families would hire the best sculptors of the day to resurrect memorials to them.  So you would stroll through the gardens and look at the "art" and you would get to visit with famous/wealthy people you never would have run in the same social circles with in actual life.

There's a fourth reason. There's another famous statue of a little girl, Gracie Watson. She was an only child who died (1883) when she was six. Her parents were obviously heartbroken.  A sculptor felt so bad about the kid's death, he created a life size marble statue (see below) based on a picture of her . She's so popular that a gate was recently added to keep visitors from trampling on her plot and damaging her monument. Gah. Humans.

Images provided by Demetria Lucas D'Oyley. All rights reserved.